Contrary to what many people think, Gibraltar offers a great deal more than sunshine and duty-free shopping. Any cruise ship that makes a port of call at Gibraltar will have its passengers coming back on-board discussing all the places they have discovered.

The Rock of Gibraltar is 1400-feet high. It is also perforated with as many as 140 caves. Remains and indications of pre-Neanderthal humans have been found within them. Many civilizations settled here through turbulent takeovers.

Rock of Gibraltar

The Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Muslims and Moors settled here. The Moors developed the town of Gibraltar in the 11th century. The Spanish, Dutch and finally the British followed suit.  

More recently, skirmishes have been developing between Britain and Spain over Gibraltar. The European Commission has been called in to investigate Spain’s recent border crackdown by charging excessive fees to cross from Gibraltar into Spain. However, for those on a cruise holiday need not ever be concerned to enter into the little outpost of Gibraltar.

One of the most essential activities to partake in while in port is to visit the top of The Rock. There is two ways to do this, either by taking a land tour or an exciting yet short cable car trip. Once up at the top, visit the gorgeous and beautiful Upper Rock Nature Reserve where taking photographs is mandatory among the flora and fauna. The famous Barbary apes and the rare Barbary partridge are native to the area.

Folklore states that” if the apes remain on the island, so shall the British”. Since they are a protective species of the region, the apes have no intention of leaving anytime soon. Things should be good for the next few decades as they are accustomed to tourists.

A popular attraction around ‘The Rock’ is St Michael’s Caves. Not only are they illuminated, but they are used as venues to some of the most creative concerts seen. The acoustics of the caves makes it an unforgettable experience.

St Michaels Cave

There are many hidden gems throughout the city. There are numerous monuments that honour Lord Nelson for his instrumental efforts in keeping the region as a strategic fortified barricade for the British crown during the Great Siege.

Trafalgar Cemetery is located near Main Street. Most the deceased buried within died from yellow fever outbreaks in the early 19th century. A memorial to the Battle of Trafalgar is erected in the cemetery and two commemorate officers are buried here who fought in the battle.

The Gibraltar Museum covers all aspects of Gibraltar’s history and natural history.  It is built on the site of a Moorish bath house and its galleries hold a rich collection of artefacts that will impress any history and geography buffs.  There’s a detailed model of the Rock, constructed by officers of the Royal Engineers in 1865, a Great Siege of Gibraltar exhibitionand a recreation of a cave containing actual prehistoric discoveries.

The official residence of the Governor of Gibraltar since 1728 was originally a Franciscan Friar Convent founded in the 16th century. “The Government House” attracts visitors daily for the changing of the guardsby officers of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment.

Royal Gibraltar Regiment

There are also plenty of other sites, including the Glass Factory.  A tour has visitors witness the glass blowers using techniques that are over 2,000 years. Of course, there’s a shop that sells these objects at factory prices.

Sightseeing isn’t the only fun thing to do in Gibraltar, though.  Simply soak up the sun, as there are great areas for sunbathing and swimming such as Catalan Bay with a generally clear and calm sea and plenty of sunshine. The beach is sandy, perfect for a relaxing rest to rejuvenate before continuing on even more exploration possibilities.

Catalan Bay

Major cruise lines, such as P & O, Princess, Holland America and Royal Caribbean are dropping off thousands of visitors into the Port of Gibraltar and cruise holiday passengers are certainly glad they are.

 Written by Veronica Shine